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From Running Away to Off-Leash: Recall for Great Danes Is The #1 Most Important Skill

adult tan great dane standing on top of mountain under white sky

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Recall for Great Danes is the difference between you screaming at your Great Dane while they run off at the terrified mailman and you enjoying a nice, peaceful walk.

Coming when called is arguably the most important skill you can teach your Great Dane.

Recall for Great Danes

We believe that off-leash obedience is a MUST for our giant-breed dogs!

Having off-leash freedom means that your dog will be able to move, explore and exercise without the use of frustrating physical restraints such as long leashes, harnesses and collars.

Does your dog:

  • Bolt out of doors
  • Jump fences
  • Run away
  • Ignore you when you say ‘COME!’, often blowing you completely off?
  • Make you chase them
  • Lunge and pull on a leash
  • Have to always be on a long leash

This post is for you. We’re going to show you how to take your Great Dane from running away to being completely OFF LEASH!

adult tan great dane standing on top of mountain under white sky


Good recall starts with a good foundation.

  • Use positive reinforcement to teach your dog that when you say ‘COME’, good things happen!
  • Positive reinforcement means treats, praise, play, fun, games, attention, affection and access to things such as freedom, a car ride or a room they want to be in.
  • Practice in a low distraction area such as the living room or backyard.
  • Don’t let your dog off-leash until you know you can count on them.
  • Incorporate food rewards heavily if your dog is learning.
  • Never scold your dog for blowing you off; you’ll only teach them to run farther (and faster) away from you next time.
Recall for Great Danes


The modern E-Collar is THE most gentle, humane and reliable training tool available. It is not a shock collar and will not hurt your dog. Shock collars are different, and we don’t use those here. Bark collars are also different- more on that here.

E-Collars work by causing a barely perceptible muscle stimulation that feels like a tickle or a twitch, which is much more gentle than the constant pressure and restrictions offered by a harness or leash.

Matter of fact, a harness could actually be HURTING your dog!

E-Collar training is one of the most responsible and humane things you can do as the owner of a giant breed dog! Think of it like a walkie-talkie; with it, you’ll be able to communicate even when you are in a noisy environment (the beach) or your dog is far away (on a hiking trail).

If your dog ignores you when you call them- check out our recall resources.

Even if you think modern E-Collars are ‘abuse’ (they aren’t) and even if you plan to use ‘only’ positive reinforcement (works for some dogs, not all), we encourage you to read and learn!

Read more here

We do not stand behind the practice of using cheap shock collars on ‘beep, vibrate or shock’ as an easy-button training method. If you are waving a remote at your dog as a threat so they stop and run away, you’re doing it wrong. The goal is to make your dog WANT to come to you.


Quality E-Collars are typically $175 or more. They are waterproof, rugged and use modern technology.

Cheap shock collars from Petsmart and Amazon are not the same and cannot be used for this.

We use and recommend E-Collar Technologies. The Mini-Educator is a perfect simple easy-to-use collar, while the Easy Educator is great if you have multiple dogs.

We recommend using a Mini-Educator, high-value treats and a biothane long leash.

The sensation from this collar feels like ants crawling around or a gentle tapping. It does not hurt or punish. This stimulation is so gentle that dogs are enthusiastic and responsive at levels that humans cannot feel.

EASY Educator collar


E-Collars work by giving the dog a tactile cue to return to you.

Instead of shouting COME, your dog will feel the sensation and run to you. It should not make them feel afraid or fearful.

In the introduction phase, the dog is taught through positive reinforcement that the neutral muscle stimulation means treats, praise, play and fun. Because they have a positive association with this new sensation, they are enthusiastic and want to learn!

For dogs that are more interested in the environment than coming when called, the stimulation can be used at a higher level. This higher level will get their attention, exactly how you may have to turn your cell phone up, or how somebody may have to shout to get your attention at a loud concert.

When your cell phone rings, you answer it. The ringing may be mildly annoying but is not painful or punishing.
Answering it makes the sound go away, and you are rewarded by the voice of your friend on the other end of the line.
A modern E-Collar is a cell phone, a long leash is a land line, and a dog wearing nothing at all is a liability.

Recall for Great Danes


We are linking some resources below for you to get started with E-Collar and recall training for your Great Dane! Before you get started, we encourage you to watch as much positive E-Collar content (two trainers we recommend are below) as possible, and work with a modern E-Collar trainer who uses positive methods.

Here is a video of a trainer (Tom Davis, Upstate K-9) using an E-Collar on a client so they can see how ‘shocking’ it is.
Fast forward to 2:52 to see that part of the video, especially if you are new to E-Collars or believe they will hurt!

Teaching recall to a dog using an E-Collar with Tom Davis:

Positive-Balanced Great Dane Trainers

Larry Krohn is an expert on modern E-Collar use. All dog owners should watch his content.

Larry Krohn on Youtube, demonstrating the E-Collar on his daughter:

Larry Krohn’s book, ‘Everything You Need to Know About E-Collar Training’

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. 

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